In many people's perspective, organic foods are the choice of healthy food. Others doubt the benefits of "organic foods" and regard them as Marketing strategy.
What is organic? Are organic foods really healthier?
Prof Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, Director of CNRC, provided his inputs in the 19th June Edition of Zaobao.
1) What is meant by the term "organic" when it comes to fruits and vegetables?
The term organic has different meaning in different countries.
However the most important point is that in organic food there is restricted use of both pesticides and fertilizer.
2) Are organic vegetables and fruits higher in nutrition than non-organic vegetables and fruits? Why or why not?
The evidence that organic foods are more nutritious than non –organic is weak. However due to specific varieties grown under organic conditions some organic fruits and vegetables may be more flavorsome.
3) What are the pros and cons of choosing organic veges and fruits over non-organic ones?
There is currently little evidence to suggest that organic fruit/ veg are more advantages than non organic.
4) Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
The costs around organic food is mainly due to the time and effort it takes to grow these food
4) Many mums-to-be and mums shell out more money for organic vegetables and fruits because they think it's safer/healthier for their children. Do you agree or disagree with this approach? Reasons?
There is some concern about pesticide residue remaining in non-organic foods- hence mothers are keen to give children organic foods. However, if you wash non organic fruits and vegetables under running tap water for some time, many of the residues will be largely washed away.
5) Under what circumstances would you recommend organic vegetables or fruits?
Perhaps, for taste. For example, some organic fruits vegetables may have better taste and flavors.
6) What should consumers consider when deciding whether or not to purchase organic fruits/veges?
7) Some say that we should go for organic veges/fruits if the produce is eaten without peeling of any sort. Do you agree or disagree with this?
Disagree, given that some organic fruits and vegetables may have used manure, to avoid bacterial contamination and pesticide residue best to peel the fruits and vegetable.
8) Is it true that certain fruits and vegetables are grown with more pesticides and hence the organic options are "safer"?
Not true always, as organic fruits & vegetables may be grown using manure.
9) What should we consider when choosing between different organic offerings for the same type of fruit/veg?
The price and country origins
10) How should we prepare vegetables/fruits (whether they are organic or not) to maximize the nutritional benefits?
Best to steam and avoid cooking with excess water and specially throwing the water.